May 1, 2013

A legend, a turnaround, and some karaoke

Daredevils finally turn it around somewhat. The celebrations include singing along to the Backstreet Boys

When your team is losing, you're always looking for "how to turn things around". Are we preparing properly? Is there anything more we can do at training? Is the make-up of the team correct? What can we do to improve team morale? These are all questions that have been asked over the last few weeks at Delhi Daredevils.

Heading into our match against Chennai, we'd tried just about everything - meetings, different training sessions, different line-ups. Unfortunately, after playing in the previous game, I was left out of the side in favour of a sixth bowling option. It turned out to be our worst performance so far, with one of my idols, Mike Hussey, playing another great innings for CSK.

Following that result, Sir Viv Richards was brought in to give us advice and share his opinions on the game. The first impression I had of Sir Viv was that he carried himself with an air of confidence, a trademark of his playing days. He spoke at our team meeting before our game against Mumbai and we were hanging on to his every word. He talked a lot about being in the contest, and letting the opposition know that you are up for it. "Bring the mustard," was a phrase he used.

I'm sure everyone took something out of that chat and I think it showed on the field. A masterclass from Virender Sehwag got us home, but the whole team had belief and confidence that had perhaps been lacking before.

After losing the next game to the Kings XI boys, we headed off to of Raipur for two more home games.

Raipur has certainly been a change of pace for the boys, some good and some not so good. The hotel we're in is not fully finished yet, so there have been a few teething problems in terms of lukewarm water and little or no internet. I even had to share my room on the first night with a mouse that ran out from under my bed (at least I'm hoping it was a mouse). On the plus side, the hotel has a great little bar, table tennis and pool tables, squash courts, and even a bowling alley. Given that this area has been starved of high-level cricket, the people of Raipur have also been great, there is a great atmosphere and excitement wherever we go.

We've had a few social nights as well over the last week. Karaoke seems to be quite popular in India. Some of it was good - Roelof was pretty decent at a wide array of songs, and Manpreet Juneja gave us some Hindi rap; some bad - Jeevan Mendis absolutely destroyed "Hotel California"; and some funny - Andre Russell and Unmukt Chand sang the first two songs of a Backstreet Boys concert.

In the first game at the new stadium, we recorded our second win of the campaign, against Pune. It was a good all-round performance, Davey Warner leading with the bat and Umesh Yadav bowling a great third-last over to knock over Luke Wright and Yuvraj Singh.

The stadium itself was fantastic. With just over 45,000 people, it was the biggest crowd I've played in front of. I hope we get a few more there for the game against KKR. After that game, I'm looking forward to getting home to Sydney for my wedding, before coming back for our match in Jaipur. A final word of advice: don't let David Warner organise your buck's day - I'm still recovering!

Ben Rohrer plays for New South Wales, Melbourne Renegades, and for Delhi Daredevils in the IPL